Feeling panicky? Feeling so anxious that you pace the hallway?
It’s OK, because anxiety can be overcome. Don’t despair.
40 million Americans or 18.1% of adults over the age of 18 will suffer from anxiety in a given year. People experiencing anxiety are 3–4 times more likely to seek a Doctor and 6 times more likely to be hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder.
Anxiety is a very debilitating symptom to have. Nobody likes to feel jittery and on edge.
When I first experienced anxiety the first thing I did was read up on it. There are different types of anxiety disorders including;
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder — a disorder which manifests as chronic anxiety and is exacerbated by worry or stress.
- Panic Disorder — a disorder categorized by panic attacks and panic-related symptoms. It causes intense fear and other symptoms such as heart palpitation, sweaty or tingly hands or feet, chest pain or dizziness.
- Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) — a disorder which is characterized by overwhelming anxiety and a sense of self-consciousness in everyday situations.
- Agrophobia — fear of places or situations which may bring about panic, helplessness or embarrassment.
- Phobias — a phobia of being scared of different things such as; spiders, closed spaces or even heights.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — stress disorder which stems from a traumatic event or situation, e.g. war or a crime.
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — being obsessive about a certain action or pattern of behavior e.g. constantly checking the doors are locked. It is categorized by recurrent unwanted thoughts.
The major symptoms of anxiety are common amongst all disorders and often include; panic, fear and uneasiness, sleep problems, not being able to stay calm or still, cold, sweaty or numb hands or feet, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dry mouth and nausea.
If you or someone you care for suffers from anxiety, there is help available. There are a few strategies that you can adopt straight away to bring instant relief, some of these strategies include;
1. Taking supplements
Ashwaganda is an Indian adaptogen herb. It reduces cortisol levels and balances hormones which helps to alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms. It depresses the central nervous system which also can help with restlessness and insomnia.
Magnesium and Fish Oil are also great supplements to take for anxiety and the brain.
Researchers from the University of Leeds studied key research in the area of stress, anxiety and depression. They found that magnesium has a positive effect on the nervous system reducing anxiety symptoms.
Another beneficial supplement is fish oil. Fish oil normalizes dopamine levels in the brain, which reduces anxiety and depression. Inflammation from viral or bacterial infections is thought to influence mood. Fish oil reduces inflammation, having a positive effect on anxiety.
2. Eating a balanced healthy diet
A diet full of green leafy vegetables and plenty of protein is important when dealing with anxiety. Asparagus, avocado, blueberries, milk and almonds are great foods that are known to combat anxiety.
Consuming herbal teas such as chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower or green tea is important. All these herbal teas work to relax and soothe an anxious brain, which has a positive effect on symptoms.
Yoga is naturally relaxing and so is meditation. It focuses your energy inward allowing you to centre your thoughts which brings a sense of calmness and wholeness. Yoga relaxes the mind, body and spirit by focusing on the breath. Deep breathing is known to aid relaxation. These days you can buy devices which help with deep breathing such as the Dodow Sleep Aid. It helps to calm your breathing and relax you ready for sleep.
Exercise helps to combat excessive cortisol levels reducing stress levels and relieving anxiety symptoms. Vigorous exercises such as running and lifting heavy weights are great. Less vigorous exercise such as taking a walk around the block or stretching may prove just as beneficial.
5. Talking to a loved one
Talking to someone is a great way to reduce stress levels. When stress levels are lower, anxiety symptoms improve. You may like to just call up a friend or family member, or you may prefer to visit someone. Reaching out will help you in the long-run.
6. Seeing a therapist
If you are really struggling with anxiety. I highly recommend that you go and see a professional. Some therapists specialize in different conditions, so do your research and make sure you have the right person. It will benefit you greatly.
So those are 6 strategies you can adopt straight away if you are struggling with anxiety. It pays to act straight away before it becomes an even bigger problem. Anxiety has been known to contribute to depression, so addressing the issue is important.
Admitting to an anxiety problem is nothing to be ashamed of. It is extremely empowering to admit that you have an issue and to go and seek help.